It’s Fromage Friday
an Cabot Clothbound is Feeling the Love for
America produces a lot of incredible cheeses and it really makes me proud to live in this country. Sure, we’re young, we might not have a whole lot of culinary cultural history, and the regulations regarding raw milk are just plain silly, but according to the World Cheese Awards, the best raw-milk cheese in the world comes from Vermont. It’s Bayley Hazen Blue from the Cellars at Jasper Hill, an unstoppable creamery that’s one of the best in the world. And it’s 100% American.
Jasper Hill takes the art of cheesemaking to an entirely new level. They have a microbiologist crafting perfect cheese, a cheesemonger liaison matching each batch of cheese to its destined purveyor, and they provide opportunities to small-scale creameries who can’t afford the same distribution and resources.
Today I’m highlighting the cheese that first put the Cellars of Jasper Hill on the map. In 2003, Cabot Cheddar, a popular New England dairy co-op, asked the Cellars at Jasper Hill to make them an artisan cheese using milk from one of their farms in Peacham, Vermont. Jasper Hill crafted a cheddar that is basically the story of America’s birth in cheese form.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is made in the style of English cheddars, but rebels against their characteristic barny, acidic flavors. Rather, Cabot is tailored towards a modern American palate. The paste smells like freshly toasted hazelnuts, with a sweet, tangy flavor and a caramel finish. There’s a little earthy funk reminiscent of the English style towards the rind; let’s call that the “New England” part of the cheese. The texture is a little crumbly at first, but once it reaches your palate it melts and becomes creamy. If you’re a vegetarian, be aware that Cabot is coated in lard before it’s wrapped in muslin and aged for 10 – 15 months.
Try it with dry, effervescent beverages like ciders and pale ales. I also like it with apple jam and oat cakes, or fresh fruit and mineral-driven white wines.
Happy birthday, America!
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Provenance: Greensboro, VT
Cost: about $23.00 a pound
Palate level: Beginner
Profile: nutty, sweet, crunchy
Pairings: dry cider, onion jam, oatmeal cookies